After having just completed my very first session as a freshman legislator in the Missouri House of Representatives, I wanted to share some thoughts and observations.
First, I am proud the people of the 79th Legislative District entrusted me with the responsibility to represent them in Jefferson City. This has been a roller coaster ride for me, with more lows than highs but also forging the skills to develop meaningful legislation that will improve the quality of life for all in this state.
I am also deeply concerned that our state and our region are plagued with a lack of leadership and vision and by cronyism that inhibits our ability to move forward. Over the years, we have lost ground to cities that we used to look at in our rearview mirrors, like Kansas City, Nashville and Indianapolis. We can only look inward to see how we are failing as a region and what we must do to move forward.
Sadly, this conversation begins with our leadership has failed us. In the face of national and global competition, we have a small group of so-called leaders choosing to find ways to keep a stranglehold on the region by offering plans like Better Together to retain political power instead of developing a common-sense, community-inspired plan to grow our region.
These same people are conspiring to rob the region of our richest asset, St. Louis Lambert International Airport, under the guise of a privatization with the refusal to engage in a transparent process. Virtually every politically connected consultant in the region has been hired as mercenaries to work on this nefarious scheme. When an elected leader who was elected by the slimmest of margins says that the electorate is not intelligent enough to understand and vote on this issue, there is a problem. The interest of the few does not outweigh the interest of our community.
The recent scandal involving County Executive Steve Stenger is a classic example of the problems that plague us. The only thing that has claimed more bodies than the Stenger saga is a “John Wick” movie, and there are still many more to come. Unfortunately, in the county executive scandal, everyone named (and not named) are people who are politically connected in both the city and the county and intimately connected to both administrations. Even the media pundits are involved, and yet we continued to operate as though this is business as usual. To move forward, we must demand change.
Last, as a state we struggle mightily to attract the best and the brightest. We want to be competitive and bring new businesses and jobs to our state, but as a state we engage in self-destructive behaviors. We do not invest in our infrastructure, our schools are challenged, we rank near the bottom in too many categories, and we fail to support our colleges and universities.
And the recent move to devalue women in the interest of political expediency is insane. Women represent over half of our population, they run many of our major corporations and, most important, we are human beings who should be in control of our bodies. This decision and the poor state of our state will have an impact on people bringing their families here and, worse, women will choose not only to not come here, but they also will leave this state.
We must do better. Failing to do so will just place us further behind as a state and as a region. In “The Man in the Mirror,” Michael Jackson sings, “If we want to make the world a better place, take a look at yourself and make that change.” St. Louis and Missouri has to do just that so we can make that change.
State representative LaKeySha Bosley (D-St. Louis) represents the 79th District in the Missouri House of Representatives.